Welcome to Bellz&Bunz

I guess I should start off by introducing myself, so, here I go!

I’ll keep it simple and straight forward. I promised myself when I started this blog, that i would be 100% apologetically me!

My name is Denise, I’m 37 and a mom of 2 boys. Jonathan who’s ( holy shit) turning 13 this year and Daniel who’s 10.  I’m married to Brad, who I will often refer to as “the hubs”. I am a full-time working mom and am currently enrolled in school part-time to become a registered nutritionist focusing on sports and nutrition.  I have been working in healthcare for the majority of my career, primarily in paediatric healthcare for the last 16 years, 10 of which I have spent as a senior manager in business operations.

I have an auto-immune disease called Rheumatoid Arthritis, which is what sparked my passion for health and fitness.  You can read my story about living with RA in my blog called “it’s been 641 days”.

My heaviest weight I’ve ever been is 242 lbs (I’m now 135lbs).  I’ve yoyo dieted probably since I was 16yrs old, until  my diagnosis with RA 2 years ago which is when I changed my way of looking at nutrition and my health overall.  I’m a gym rat! I love lifting weights, pushing myself to do things I never thought I could, because I find the feeling of accomplishment to be so fulfilling emotionally and physically.  You will notice that I have a lot of tattoo’s. I always get asked about them. My sleeve is a picture of a woman warrior, holding a sword ready for battle, with a blossomed lotus flower. In short the meaning for me is internal strength.

So why now- why the blog?  Well, here’s the thing I learned this past year that took me my entire life to understand.  I can put myself first and not feel guilty about it. Why? because I am a better person, woman, mother,wife,  friend, daughter, when I am healthy and happy.   These past (almost) 2 years, I have made my health a priority and it has changed my entire balance in love, health, family and motherhood.   Which is what has brought me here and the desire to empower and help other women with hopes to inspire them to live the best versions of themselves. Make themselves a priority and not for one minute feel guilty about it.

My promise to you is I will keep it real, share my personal stories, my successes and my failures.  I will share my m personal workouts and fitness programs that I have done or am currency doing that don’t suck ass and will get you results.

I should mention I am a wicked cook and baker (I am actually a certified professional baker) Checkout my recipes and give them a try. everything I make keeps into consideration, health, nutrients and of course stuff my kids love. They are also easy and quick, because lets be honest who has time to waste!

Thank you so much for  visiting my page. I truly believe a journey is a destination and I hope to walk along side you on your path!

xo

Denise


Oatmeal Protein Pancakes

Looking for a quick and easy post work-out breakfast? Well, I got it!  These protein pancakes are ( and I don’t normally brag, but I will here) the BEST protein pancakes you will ever make yourself!  Also they are gluten free, high fiber and packed with protein!

Serving is for 1- so if you want to make it for you and your family ( note- my boys love these) just double up the recipe!

Ingredients:

1/2 Cup Oatmeal ( uncooked, quick oats)

3 egg whites ( or substitute for one whole egg)

1tbsp vanilla Whey Isolate Protein Powder ( I use, Allmax All Natural whey isolate Protein- I find it the best protein powder to bake with) available at Boss Newmarket 

1 tbsp unsweetened Almon milk

2 tsp ground flax seed

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Just mix in a blender and pour into skillet, cook like a pancake!

Viola, easy peasy!!

Try these…and let me know how you like them 🙂

 

xo

Denise

 

 

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Snacking

Chris Pratt hit the nail on the head when he started #whatsmysnack on IG. If you are one of his fans, you know exactly what I’m talking about. His hilarious clips about his healthy snacks had me seriously laughing out loud! I mean, who doesn’t drool over healthy carrot cake!

Let’s talk about snacks and why you see so many of the fitness guru’s talking about how important it is to snack between meals!

Planning snacks and making the right choices for snacks is as important as planning your meals.  The whole point of snacks between meals is to keep your metabolism working throughout the day- which is why you hear so many nutritionists and dieticians enforcing the 5-6 meals a day. 3 large, 2-3 small ones.  

You want to make sure that your snacks contain the fuel your body needs but it’s also dependent on what you do all day.  For example: because I’m a kickboxing trainer and I am physically active all day and since I usually burn anywhere from 1000-1200 calories before noon, I make sure my snacks give my body the fuel it needs to support my active day, my training, but that also keeps me satisfied.(Note: no one is pretty when they are ‘hangry’). However, If you have a sedentary job, it’s important for your body to get the fuel it needs to actively keep your metabolism burning and working versus storing.  

Eating less does NOT make you lose weight! In fact, it will do the exact opposite. Not eating enough will slow down your metabolism,  therefore instead of burning fat for fuel, you are storing it, because your body literally thinks “it will need it for later”.  Our metabolism does one of 3 things with the food we eat. It either stores it, burns it or builds it.  That is why the food that we choose to eat is important for our overall nutrition, whether you are trying to lose weight, maintain your weight or even gain weight.

Meal planning can be overwhelming, mainly because there is so much out there in terms of diets. We have keto, paleo, Atkins, raw, plant-based, macro counting, point counting and the list goes on and on, which is why we can easily get overwhelmed with knowing where to start, trying to figure out what’s good for us and which one will work.  Nutrition is an individual thing, everybody is different, and there are so many facets that contribute to us successfully having a balanced and health ‘diet’.  This is why I can’t stress enough how important it is to make eating balanced and healthy a lifestyle, not as a short term diet.  Personally, I like to bring it back to the basics, the fundamentals of nutrition- how our body processes food and how our metabolism works. My nutrition advice and recommendations are based on simple nutrition- healthy, wholesome, natural foods. I choose this way of eating because it fits my lifestyle, fuels my body accordingly and most importantly we eat this way as a family.  The point is finding a balanced nutrition that you can sustain as a lifestyle and that makes you feel good in whichever diet you choose to follow.

Back to snacking.  I’m going to keep it simple and easy to follow.   This pretty much sums up how I choose my snacks throughout the day:

  1. A protein, a fat and a carbohydrate- this type of snack is ideal as a mid-morning snack (between breakfast & lunch) or as a pre-workout snack.
  2. A protein and a fat: ideal as a mid-day snack (between Lunch and dinner) or as a post workout snack either before or after dinner.
  3. A fat & a carbohydrate- can be mid morning or mid day snack

*Try to keep your carbohydrate snacks to vegetables or berries if you are less active throughout the day.

List of my top go to snacks. Simple, fast to prepare and quick to eat.

A protein, a fat, a carbohydrate:

  • ½ cup cottage cheese, ¼ cup blackberries ( or any berry), 2 tbsp nuts
  • 1 cup of greek yogurt, with tbsp peanut butter and ¼ cup berries
  • Smoothie ( Protein Powder, ¼ cup frozen mango, ¼ cup avocado)

A Protein & Fat

  • Protein shake with added Peanut butter
  • Yogurt/Cottage Cheese with Almonds or walnuts

A Fat & Carbohydrate:

  • Cucumbers & Hummus
  • Rice cake with PB
  • Celery & Cherry with Guacamole
  • Small Apple with Almond Butter

 

Today’s take away?  Eat better not less. Make better choices, make the change a lifestyle and please fuel your body!

 

Xo

Denise


Endurance Training-Full Body Workout

Endurance Training- Full Body Workout

Once a week, I like to do an endurance circuit.  I use ( mostly) just bodyweight exercises combined with plyometrics.  This does 2 things: 1) it keeps your heart rate up the whole time (endurance) and 2) it’s a full body workout. By using your own body weight, you use every muscle group in your body. Basically, working out doesn’t need to be completed and you don’t really need fancy , heavy duty machines to get a good workout. We can use our own body weight and with the right movements, we can get an awesome full body workout!

Start off with a 10 minute warm up. This could be a run on the treadmill ( or outside), spin bike, stair climber, rower, lateral machine, jump rope etc. If you have a jump rope, I suggest jumping rope. Jump rope is a great calorie-burner, increases agility, coordination and most of all builds endurance.  

With each round, you will repeat it 3-4x (3-4 rounds).  Each round will consist of 3-4 movements(exercises). Do each exercise with no break in between and taking a 30-60 sec break between each round.

Round 1

20 Jump Squats

20 Extreme Mountain climbers ( bring your foot to your hand)

10 Push Ups

Round 2

40 Box toe taps ( you can use a bench, steps, a chair- whatever you have that is about knee high)

20 Body Weight “Air Squats”

20 Jumping split squats

10 Push Ups

Round 3

10 Ball Slams

10 Burpees ( get your chest to the floor ( and don’t forget to add the jump on the way up)

10 Walking Lunges

10 Push Ups

Let’s talk push-ups and why women need to learn how to do them…properly!

Push-ups are probably one of the best exercises for overall fitness. They work your chest, back and bicep muscles all at once.   We don’t start off knowing how to automatically do a push-up correctly and when we are just starting out, a lot of us can’t physically do one, I know I couldn’t!  I think we automatically assume we can’t do a “real” push up and can only do “girl” ones.  Let’s clear that up though. ‘Girl’ push-ups, properly known as “Modified Push Ups” when done correctly are just as hard, work the same muscles and really is your building block to doing a full push up, BUT modified pushups need to be done correctly to be effective in building your strength.

How to do a proper Modified Push Up:

  1. Starting in a kneeling position, place hands below shoulders and knees behind hips so that your back is angled and long
  2. Tuck toes,  tighten your core (abdominals), and bend elbows ( to a 90-degree angle) lowering your chest to the floor. Keep your gaze straight in front of you ( head up looking straight) making sure your spine is aligned.
  3. Press into the floor, getting your chest back up to start position. Elbows back up into a straight position.
  4. Repeat

Start slow and keep trying. Build yourself up to doing a full push up. Here’s a tip I tell all my clients. If you are doing 10 pushups, 9 can be modified, 1 needs to be a full push up, on your toes.  Next week, do 8 modified, 2 full.  Each week, decrease your modified and increase your full ones.  Build your endurance and strength slowly.  Go as low as you can, and each time try to go a little lower.The most important thing….keep at it, because you got this!

Xo

Denise


12 Chapters, Page 1: Hello 2018

I know, I know, it’s been a while since my last blog, but here I am, I’m back!  Life happens, things take priority and while I have so many things to share, I didn’t know where to start, until today.  Something happened today that made me pause and take a mental note “ Share this experience Denise”

As I look back at 2017, it has been one crazy year for me, personally and professionally, I mean I upright quit my career to pursue a passion, I make half the amount of money I used to and I couldn’t be happier then I am right now! Don’t get me wrong this year has had so many ups and so many downs, so many “what-ifs”, so many “I can’ts”, so many holy shits and yet so many yes’. Let me tell you this though, every doubt, every gut-wrenching what if was worth the risk, especially when the risk is something that changes you.  There is only one way to go, only one direction and that’s forward! ‘Sempre Avanti’ as my papa would say!

For 2018, maybe it’s time we all start looking in the mirror and loving who and what we see. Maybe it’s time we stop wishing for something and start working for it. Maybe it’s time to start knowing and valuing our worth, then adding tax to it. Maybe it’s time to start putting yourself first instead of last and maybe its time we tell our self-doubt to shut the F*&% up!

2018, 12 new chapters, 365 pages. Open your book, start with page 1 and keep going!  Do everything you keep telling yourself you want to do. Get fit, join that gym, lose those 10lbs, book that trip, call the person you miss, say I’m sorry, say countless I love yous, hug more, laugh more, love more. Just start! 

Wishing you all an amazing year! 2018 , this is YOUR year!  

Xo

Denise


Big Change, New Direction

It’s not everyday that you wake up and decide that you are done! Done with wanting and not

getting, done with being tired, done with stress and bullshit, done with wishing and hoping, done with convincing yourself that there is no other way, done with negative people.  Just plain done! Well, thats me, right now!

I went to see an old friend, a very wise friend who has been a part of my life since I can remember. He said to me “ the longest journey is from our head to our hearts”  and it’s so true. Getting out of our own heads is so hard.  He also told me that there are 2 types of fear, negative fear and positive fear and at that time I was stuck in my own head, letting the negative fear consume me.

Life has it’s way of bringing you to cross roads. Some big and some small. I found myself at the biggest cross road- standing there knowing which was the right road to take, but too afraid. Just like he said, I kept trying to talk myself out of not taking the road I knew was right for me.

I guess as I’m writing this right now, I realize that the reason why I was so scared to make this decision that I’m about to share is because I have this constant need to have full control. I’m always on top of things, I always have my shit together, I don’t need sleep to function, I carry the stress load of everything so other people don’t have to, I bow down to people who hurt me and forgive ( way too much), I have thick skin, I ignore stress and pretend it doesn’t exist, and I open my heart too much and let too many people in, I give and love unconditionally and probably should put some rope to tighten  that shit up. I’m a “machine” as people call me.  Well this machine needed a tune up!  

As I stand in front of this cross road, I decided that what I really want, what I feel in my heart and soul is no longer being ignored and that it was non-negotiable. I decided it was time to go for it, to put everything I have, every part of me into doing what I love, into doing what makes my soul sing, my heart smile and keeps my mind at peace.  I am meant to help others, I am meant to walk alongside people through their journey, I am meant to inspire and empower other women, to encourage moms to get back on track, to motivate them that they can do it. I am meant to show women it can be done and most of all I am meant to cheer them on every step of the way. I am meant to help women through self doubt and fear, I am meant to help women become strong!

And so, as I leave my career in paediatric healthcare to pursue my passion in helping other through health, fitness and nutrition I am at peace knowing that I left a positive impact, that it goes without saying I did good there. I put 16 years of my whole heart into an organization that became part of our family and I am closing that chapter with happiness and pure fulfillment.   

I am humbled by my experiences, blessed for the people in my life that support me unconditionally without judgement and thankful to those that are cheering me on and believe in me and my purpose!  To all of you and to all my followers and supporters, I thank you with all of my heart, every inch of it.

What’s next?  I guess you will just have to wait and see 🙂

Xo

Denise



Blueberry Protein Oatmeal

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day.  It’s funny because it used to be my least, actually I used to skip it entirely, but that was at a time where I didn’t realize how important eating breakfast was for your metabolism, in staying healthy and fueling your body.  Since focusing on my fitness in general especially with strength training, all I can think about is what I’m going to eat for breakfast. I work out first thing in the morning on empty stomach ( in a fasted state). Meaning, as soon as I wake up, I get ready and am at the gym within 15-20 minutes. I find I have the most energy at this time and get the most out of my workouts.  With that said, by my last rep I’m dreaming about my oats!!!  LOL

I also get alot of questions regarding my protein intake since being plant-based. I’m not going to get into the plant-based protein in this post but if you are curious about it, fire me off an email and I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Protein intake is important to many people, especially those who are predominately body building, strength and resistance training and i train pretty hard, I always try to pack my breakfast with a good balance of protein and essential amino acids. I don’t count my macros ( thats too complicated for me), I don’t count my calories either, I just try to make sure every meal is fully of beneficial nutrients, vitamins, amino acids, good fats and super agents, while maintaining a healthy portion.

I’m a creator of habit, I can’t help it. When I love something, I could eat it all the time and not get sick of it, granted I will make variations of it and change a few things up but the basic of it always remains my staple.

Oatmeal is my absolute favorite go to post workout breakfast ( seriously I almost eat it every day).  I’m sharing with you my favorite way to make it! I either make it with rolled oats or steel cut oats which have about  6 grams of protein per ½ cup.  I also add Pea Protein-which contains 24grams of protein per scoop ( 3tbsp), plus I add a whole bunch of my favorite power seeds and fruit  to give me a well balanced, high protein post workout meal. (26 grams of protein to be exact)

Ingredients:

½ Cup instant organic oats

1 tbsp pea protein

1 tbsp hemp seeds and flax

1 tsp ground chia

1 tbsp peanut butter

Pinch cinnamon

Boiling water

Topping:

2 tbsp coconut yogurt

¼ cup fresh blueberries

Directions:

  1. Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl, add boiling water ( I usually add about 1 cup of water per ½ cup)  and let sit for about 2 minutes
  2. Stir in peanut butter
  3. Add toppings and serve
  4. enjoy!